SAN JOSE, Calif. - Joe Thornton had a goal and an assist, Evgeni Nabokov made 15 saves and the San Jose Sharks beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 Thursday night for their sixth victory in seven games.
Milan Michalek, Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski also scored for the Sharks, who won consecutive home games for just the second time all season to stay in a first-place tie with Dallas in the Pacific Division, passing Vancouver for second place in the Western Conference.
Henrik Sedin and Trevor Linden scored third-period goals for the Canucks to trim San Jose's three-goal lead. Vancouver then made two glaring turnovers that turned into goals for Thornton and Steve Bernier, sealing Nabokov's league-leading 17th victory.
Nabokov has started each of the Sharks' 30 games this season, and the eighth-year veteran has rarely been better. He picked up his league-leading 17th victory and barely missed his 39th career shutout while keeping his goals-against average at 2.00, the second-best mark in the NHL behind Detroit's Chris Osgood.
Curtis Sanford allowed three goals on 12 shots while filling in again for Roberto Luongo, who has missed four of Vancouver's last five games with bruised ribs. Drew MacIntyre relieved Sanford after the Sharks went up 3-0 in the second period.
Vancouver lost for the third time in four games overall.
Michalek showed why he's one of the NHL's most highly regarded young forwards with a stunning move to open the scoring midway through the first period. He collected a pass on a power-play rush and left Vancouver's Willie Mitchell flat-footed, speeding past the defenceman for his 10th goal of the year.
Marleau then sped past another defender for another breakaway goal, just his second in 10 games.
Pavelski padded the Sharks' lead in the second period with a deceptive shot from the slot, handcuffing Sanford. San Jose also kept up its stellar defensive play, allowing just eight shots in the first 39 minutes.
Sedin ended Nabokov's shutout bid with 14:51 to play, tapping home a rebound of Lukas Krajicek's shot that bounced right to his stick. Linden got credit for his third goal of the season midway through the period when Nabokov stopped his shot, but then kicked it into the net behind him.
But Thornton kept the Sharks comfortably ahead 41 seconds later when Devin Setoguchi stole a Vancouver pass and fed the 2005-06 MVP for a breakaway slap shot with 9:07 to play. Bernier padded the lead 1 minute later when Krajicek coughed up the puck right next to the net.